New LDWF Enforcement Colonel Chad Hebert Enjoying The Job Of A Lifetime
story by Adam Einck, LDWF Public Information
For some people picking a career is extremely difficult and something they never can quite fully grasp, which usually leads to a lot of indecision in their 20s with multiple starts and stops at new career choices.
For newly promoted Col. Chad Hebert of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division, that is something he never had to deal with as he knew from an early age that he wanted to become an LDWF enforcement agent.
“I knew when I was a young teenager that I wanted to be a game warden,’’ Hebert said. “My dad was in law enforcement and I knew that I wanted to be in law enforcement and I knew I wanted to have a job in the outdoors. I can remember hunting in Pointe-aux-Chenes Wildlife Management Area when I was about 14 and we got stopped by a game warden and I remembered thinking how cool of a job that would be. Because you are a cop and you get to be where everyone goes hunting and fishing.”
Hebert is a native of Schriever and grew up fishing and hunting with his cousins and uncles in and around Lafourche Parish.
“First time I went hunting I was probably about 10 years old when I went squirrel hunting with my cousin and then moved on to ducks, deer and fishing,’’ Hebert said. “I have loved hunting and fishing ever since.’’
Hebert finished high school and earned his required 60 hours of college credit before applying to become an LDWF agent. Hebert was accepted into the LDWF academy in 1993 when he was 21 years old.
“The academy came easy to me since I knew that was where I wanted to be and I was young and ready to begin my career,” said Hebert.
At the academy, Hebert was awarded the physical fitness, marksmanship and overall achievement awards. Then after graduating from the academy on Nov. 5, 1993, he started his LDWF agent career based out of Assumption Parish for a year and a half before being stationed back home in Lafourche Parish. During this part of his career, Hebert was promoted to Senior Agent.
“At the start of my career I couldn’t believe they were paying me to do the job,” said Hebert. “I got issued a boat and a truck and I spent all of my time outdoors, which is where I wanted be on my off time too.”
It was during his time as a senior agent in Lafourche Parish that Hebert had an encounter that resulted in a firefight.
On Feb. 2, 2001, Hebert was on patrol in an isolated area on Clovelly Road in Cutoff around 8 p.m. He was supposed to meet his co-worker, Sgt. Ted Dewitt, to hand off some paperwork. As Hebert was looking for Dewitt’s vehicle he spotted a vehicle stopped on the road.
There was a body lying next to the passenger side of the vehicle. Hebert then turned on his lights and called the incident into dispatch. Hebert then saw a man get out of the driver’s side with a pistol.
“I thought I was coming up on a suicide situation at first, but when I saw the man get out of the driver’s side I immediately knew I was in big trouble and I sought cover inside my vehicle,” said Hebert.
Hebert was able to lay as flat as he could on the seats. The man fired three rounds at Hebert with a .357 pistol. Hebert was then able to return fire hitting the man in the chest. Dewitt then arrived on the scene and found the man with a gunshot wound to the chest unresponsive.
“I was still in the truck when my partner showed up,’’ Hebert said. “I didn’t know if I hit him or not until my partner confirmed that he was down. I then asked my partner if I had any holes in me. He told me my face was bleeding and I was taken to the hospital by ambulance.”
At the hospital, Hebert found out he had bullet fragments buried in his face on his cheek and in his wrist. Doctors were able to remove the shrapnel from his wrist, but Hebert still has the bullet fragment in his face.
“I can still feel the bullet fragment in my cheek and it is a constant reminder about what transpired that night,” said Hebert. “Luckily, I was able to basically escape that situation without any serious physical injury.”
Hebert later found out that he came upon a drug deal gone wrong where the driver of the vehicle murdered the passenger and dumped his body outside of the vehicle when Hebert pulled up.
After this harrowing encounter, Hebert returned to duty and he was promoted to the sergeant of Lafourche Parish in 2005 and then to the lieutenant over Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes and Grand Isle in 2009.
“Patrolling Terrebonne Parish, Lafouche Parish and Grand Isle areas was very challenging because of the remoteness of the marsh and vast waters of the gulf made it difficult to navigate before the days of these fancy GPS,’’ Hebert said. “We usually used the lights from bridges and other navigable markers to aid us in navigation in those days. But, I also enjoyed my time as a field agent as I got to catch people breaking conservational laws. For me that was enjoyable because it meant I was helping the ethical hunters and fishermen doing it the right and legal way.”
In 2013, Hebert was promoted to captain and in charge of the statewide strike force. This promotion also brought Hebert to LDWF headquarters in Baton Rouge. The promotion put Hebert on the oyster, crab and shrimp task forces as well as the department liaison for the Joint Enforcement Agreement program. Hebert was promoted to major in 2017.
In 2018, Hebert was promoted to lieutenant colonel on the administrative side and put in charge of the budget, training, boating safety and emergency services amongst other duties. Then after the patrol lieutenant colonel retired at the end of 2019, Hebert absorbed the patrol side putting him in charge of the enforcement regions and communications.
“I learned a lot through my entire career during every step,’’ Hebert said. “I have pretty much served every spot there is to serve in the Enforcement Division. I was a field agent for a while, then supervisor of a parish or two, then a captain for a region that covers the whole state, and then at headquarters I learned how the administrative duties work.”
In July of 2020, Hebert reached the highest rank in the Enforcement Division as colonel.
“When I started out in my career I never strived to become colonel,’’ Hebert said. “I was just doing my job at the best of my abilities and the promotions followed. But now that I’m colonel, I just want to continue to do the job at the best of my abilities and do what’s right for the agents and the department.”
Hebert is a lifelong resident of Schriever and is married to his wife, Rachel, of 25 years and together they have a 19-year-old daughter, Kamryn, and a 17-year-old daughter, Hannah.
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